Modern TV shows love to surprise viewers with plot twists or hints of a big reveal. Since the rise of online fandom communities, viewers have flocked together on the internet to discuss the Easter Eggs and mystery boxes teased in their favorite TV shows.
Reddit, founded in 2005, has become the go-to place for many fandom communities. It’s also the site where many of the biggest twists in TV – from sitcoms to thrillers to dramas – were guessed in advance by fans. When it comes to analysis, speculation and theory around popular TV shows, no one does it better than Redditors.
The big twist in Season 1 of Westworld was that the chivalrous William (Jimmi Simpson) was also the ruthless Man in Black (Ed Harris), with a 30-year time gap between their respective storylines. It’s a shock for viewers to realize Dolores’ knight in shining armor becomes the same monster who raped and murdered her in the first episode.
Speculation of the Man in Black’s true identity began as soon as William was introduced in Season 1, Episode 2, “Chestnut”. On r/westworld, user Where_isJessica_Hyde was among the first to guess the twist, noting the symbolism of William’s white (vs the Man in Black)’s hat and that “his scenes seemed to be set in the past” with both the train and Sweetwater “looking different when compared to scenes we’ve already seen”.
9 American Horror Story
The first season of American Horror Story, Murder House, introduces cynical teenager Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga). Violet attempts suicide in episode 6 but is saved by her boyfriend Tate (Evan Peters) – except turns out she isn’t. The viewer learns four episodes later Violet actually died and has been a ghost ever since, with her body hidden by Tate in the crawlspace beneath the house.
Redditor kmonster88 correctly guessed Violet was dead three weeks before the big reveal, which they shared in a post on r/AmericanHorrorStory. The clue for them was Violet’s sudden ability to see ghosts, and Tate’s explanation of this as being “evolved… has she evolved because she is now dead and joined the club of house ghosts?”.
8 The Haunting of Hill House
Nell Crain (Victoria Pedretti) is haunted from childhood by the Bent-Neck Lady, a terrifying woman ghost with a broken neck. In Season 1, Episode 5, “The Bent-Neck Lady” we learn the identity of the latter is none other than Nell herself – caught in a kind of time loop after being tricked by the house into hanging herself.
All episodes of The Haunting of Hill House were released at once, so it’s impossible to verify if anyone truly did guess the tragic revelation in advance. However, user spolarium claimed in the episode’s discussion post on r/HauntingofHillHouse to have picked the twist from clues Nell had died by hanging. These included “Olivia’s comment about the ropes, the way Luke kept touching his neck… I just toyed with the idea that what if the Bent-Neck lady was Nell all along”.
7 Mr. Robot
Just over halfway through the second series of Mr. Robot, the viewer learns Elliot (Rami Malek) is not living with his mother and has actually been in jail all season. The twist revealed Elliot as an unreliable narrator, and was an ingenious example of demonstrating his coping mechanism for being sent to prison.
Many members of r/MrRobot immediately suspected the twist, with one user – NewTown-BurnOut – compiling all evidence for the theory “scattered through multiple threads” within 24 hours of the first two episodes being released. Whether Elliot was really in prison remained a hot topic on the sub for the duration of season 2.
6 Breaking Bad
One of the most shocking revelations in Breaking Bad is that it was Walt (Bryan Cranston) who poisoned Brock (Ian Posada), the son of Jesse’s (Aaron Paul) girlfriend, in order to frame Gus Fring.
Speculation that it was Walt poisoning Brock spread within days of Season 4, Episode 12, “End Times” being aired. User LMoE posted a summary of the theory with supporting screenshots, in a widely upvoted post on r/breakingbad titled “After re-watching episode 12, I am convinced that Walt poisoned Brock”.
Season 4 of You sees Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) living in London, blackmailed into committing murder by the charismatic but menacing Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers). Except Joe is actually hallucinating his interactions with Rhys, and he himself was the real killer all along.
Episode 2, “Portrait of the Artist” is when many Redditors began to suspect Joe was a (supersized) unreliable narrator. In the episode discussion comments on r/YouOnLifetime, user notrealtea suggested Joe was imagining the messages from the killer on his phone. In the same post lilmissadventure noted no other characters interacted with Rhys but Joe, and theorized the latter was “making him up in his head”.
4 How I Met Your Mother
This long-running, popular sitcom had one of the most controversial twist endings of all time: the ‘mother’ whom Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) had been telling his kids about for nine seasons was actually dead. In the season finale, Ted finally meets the lovely Tracy McConnell (Cristin Milioti)– but the viewer learns she died of an unspecified disease around 10 years later.
The theory of the mother dying wasn’t exclusive to Reddit but was a popular discussion point at r/HIMYM throughout the series’ duration. User Rebel_Saint posted the idea mid-Season 7, suggesting it was “what caused Ted to be so nostalgic and tell his kids the longest love story ever”.
Kathryn Hahn as nosy neighbor Agnes was an immediate highlight of WandaVision. Agnus quickly inserts herself into Wanda’s life, with her true identity as the villainous Agatha Harkness only revealed (in song) during Episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall”.
Marvel comic readers were quick to theorize Agnes was Agatha Harkness in disguise. In the comments of the premiere episodes discussion post on r/WANDAVISION, users Benimation and Fuzzy-Sort1884 were among the first to pick the twist – although both Redditors assumed Agatha would become Wanda’s mentor, rather than nemesis.
2 The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power
The beautifully lavish Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power introduced several original characters to Tolkien’s world, most noticeably the handsome southerner Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). The latter forms a strong bond with Galadriel (delighting shippers everywhere) only for it to be revealed that he is really the Dark Lord Sauron in disguise.
Redditors immediately suspected that Halbrand – a new character getting plenty of screen time – was Sauron. In the discussion comments for episode 1 in r/LOTR_on_Prime, user Egonheart123 was among those championing the theory, quoting Halbrand’s line to Galadriel that “looks can be deceiving”.
In Season 2 of Yellowjackets, adult Lottie (Simone Kessell) seems to be doing well for herself. She is running a wellness commune and looks after her mental health, with regular visits to a psychiatrist. Except, Lottie’s psychiatrist (whom the viewer never directly sees) seems to be giving increasingly dubious advice – such as telling a diagnosed schizophrenic to start listening to her hallucinations. In Episode 7, “Burial” the viewer finally learns the psychiatrist (who suddenly appears as the Antler Queen) is 100 percent Lottie’s hallucination.
The Reddit sub r/YellowJackets thrives on fan theories, from plausible to highly imaginative (special shout out to Crystal is a bird). Not surprisingly, users were quick to question if Lottie’s psychiatrist was real or imaginary. Redditors bergskey and Vandergrif were among the first to propose the theory, with the latter commenting that assuming the psychiatrist was real “seems a bit suspect all on its own given her ‘recommendation'” to Lottie.
NEXT: 10 Popular MCU Fan Theories that Proved True